The American People Speak Out
Against Recreation User-Fees!

Here is what is really being said about recreation user-fees.

  • We are already paying for the operation of these areas with our taxes and in fact are providing huge subsidies to extractive industries, the "real" beneficiaries of our tax dollars.

  • Something is wrong when we can not freely and spontaneously drive on national forest roads or enter a trails.

  • User-fees hit hardest those who can least afford to pay.

  • Once fees are in place, there is no way they can go but up.

  • Any fees charged would be staggered in relationship to the impact the activities have on the environment. For instance a family wanting to picnic in a National Forest should be charged less than an off-road motorcyclist or snowmobiler.

  • Fees should NOT be used to benefit concessionaires.

  • We are concerned about the huge RV's that seem to fill up the parking lots at National Parks and hope that the entrance fees for RVs reflect their gargantuan space and other resource needs.

  • Like the idea of wilderness, access to public lands is important as an idea, a concept, a dream, for now and future generations. This is one thing US citizens should always have that corporations should never be allowed to control or buy.

  • The fee charged for recreational use should bear some correlation to the amount of damage caused by that use.

  • The Recreation Fee Demonstration Program creates more problems then it will ever solve and causes gross inequities.

  • We felt it particularly inappropriate to ask for users fees when our tax dollars are supporting the destruction of public lands via logging, mining, grazing, and other commercial uses.


    Protest in Los Padres NF


  • I do not agree with the trend toward wanting to extract most of the upkeep costs at the point of use, rather than through general taxation. The trend tends to starve facilities with light use and promotes excessive development.

  • Agencies should not have their appropriations cut because of increased income from fees.

  • User fees are highly regressive and unfair to America's poor.

  • There is a significant difference in subsidizing private business and subsidizing use of public facilities by it's owners, the public.

  • This country is based on freedom and the National Forests should at least be one place that is free.

  • Not all users are equally destructive, and encouraging fees against the most gentle users is very divisive within the club.

  • The problem is not federal recreation programs being a particular burden to the taxpayer and contributing to the federal deficit. Rather, the big cost to the American taxpayer is subsidies for resource extraction. Recreation costs are a drop in the bucket.

  • 2000 residents out of a population of 3500 residing near this ranger district have signed a petition opposing the user fee. Among the complaints are the inability of the poor to use their national forest.

  • I fear that the real intent of many American corporations and their political allies is to force privatization on the public lands, so that these corporations can realize a profit from exploiting our public lands, supposedly to benefit the public.

  • Recreation user fees violate an old valuable heritage of America, a value associated with the frontier: the freedom of movement. Our public lands are the last bastion of free movement.

  • The "user-pays" argument ignores the fact that the existing damage was, for the most part, not caused by recreation, but rather by oil companies, automobiles, miners, loggers and ranchers. Shouldn't they be the ones who pay for the cleanup and restoration.

  • We should view trails just as we view regular streets in our cities, as public thoroughfares built and maintained by our taxes, not user fees.

  • People who do pay fees should pay them for use of facilities, only.

  • If Congressionally appropriated funds continue to decline, the agencies will more and more seek outside corporate "partnerships" to pay for signs, information kiosks, buildings, parking areas, etc. In return, the corporate sponsors will demand rights to advertise on the public lands and to feature public lands in the ad campaigns.

  • The end result of this growing reliance on user fees and external "partnerships" will be agency "Profit centers" that will erode the values for which public lands have been set aside. I can easily envision national forest having their "golf profit centers," "retreat center profit centers," "movie filming profit centers," "ski resort profit centers," etc.

  • Fees should NOT be charged to limit use or deter visitors.

  • General entrance fees violate basic principles of freedom embodied in our public lands.

    Click Here to read a sampling of REAL LETTERS to Senators, Congressmen, newspapers and federal agencies written by your friends and neighbors.

    How do YOU want
    YOUR Tax Dollars spent?

    The 1999 budget for the USFS is
    over $ 3,200,000,000

    Do you think we REALLY
    need Fee-Demo...

    ...   or do you think the USFS
    has it's priorities ALL WRONG?

    Click Here to read what the people in Aurora, Kentucky told government officials when asked for input on fee-demo and efforts to commercialize and further develop the Land Between the Lakes.


    This document was prepared by Wild Wilderness. To learn more about ongoing industry-backed congressional efforts to motorize, commercialize, and privatize America's public lands, contact:

    Scott Silver, Executive Director,
    Wild Wilderness
    248 NW Wilmington Avenue,  Bend  OR 97701
    Phone (541) 385-5261    E-mail: